By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
By Roy Edroso
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
By Zachary D. Roberts
The eternal mayor
Re Tom Robbins's 'Bloomberg's Coup: Heroes, Villains, and Wimps' [October 29–November 4]: The only function of the New York City Council is to convince people that the New York State Legislature is not the worst law-making body in the country.
Far Hills, New Jersey
Just like that, two votes of the public have been disregarded, and the City Council just voted themselves a direct benefit. The three major dailies all allowed the injustice to take place. Mayor Mugabe, Mayatollah, Bloomville—use whatever names you want. Me, I'll call it the Big Apple–Banana Republic. New York City history will long remember the sad events of this day.
Mayor Bloomberg needs to change one more thing in our public-school system since he has decided to overturn term limits. He should have our children recite: "I pledge allegiance to the government of New York City, and to the dictatorship for which it is, one city totally without morals, with no voting rights, and tyranny and injustice for all."
Richmond Hill, queens
More on the n-word
Raquel Cepeda's article ['The N-Word Is Flourishing Among Generation Hip-Hop Latinos,' October 22–28] is great. Unfortunately, despite all she wrote, I guess it's necessary to point out to the people commenting online on her article that many Latinos are black. Many Latinos in the U.S. are black. Millions of Latinos outside los Estados Unidos are black. There are more black Latinos than African-Americans if you combine the populations of all the black people in Latin America.
People keep referring to Latinos as if there is a strict boundary between Latino and black. Black is a broad racial category; African-American is a national and ethnic category. Black and Latino do not cancel each other out, and some Latinos even consider themselves African-American, too. Go figure.
The reality is that while the debate over the ownership and use of the n-word seems like an eternal rift ( 'fess up, y'all know the n-word will transform but will never be erased from the global lexicon), our goal should be to intentionally expose adolescents to broader forms of expression. With our help, maybe they won't need to fall back on using abusive idioms.
Fever la France
Reader Rich Fiekowsky ['Don't blame France. Blame Bush,' Letters, October 29–November 4] completely missed the point of my letter [October 22–28] about efforts to prosecute Bush, Rumsfeld, etc.
I noted that if the European courts are really serious about punishing war criminals, they could find some a lot closer to home—in the government and military of France, for example.
We've heard this before
Re Alexis Soloski's review of Clay [October 22–28]: Please be aware, dear writer, that the first place you might hear something does not automatically make that the source. Eminem did not pioneer polysyllabic rhyme schemes, as Mr. Mathers himself will tell anyone who asks him. Take a moment to listen to the Souls of Mischief, Big Daddy Kane, Canibus, KRS-One, OC, Outkast, Pharcyde, Gangstarr, Black Thought (of the Roots), Talib Kweli, and many others.
Most everyone is familiar with Bobby McFerrin, though not many realize that a point of reference for his contributions is King Pleasure, as well as Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, who predate his heyday by decades. This phenomenon is true in all genres of music. I apologize for being a music snob but merely ask that one be more responsible and diligent with research.